We live in a world where the social aspects of life have taken on an entirely new meaning.  I’m sure you can think back to a time when you were a teenager and had to answer your mom’s “page” from a “pay phone” –what?  Or when hanging out with your friends literally meant sitting, talking and physically interacting with them; as opposed to occupying the same space and breathing air, while commenting on posts of others making duck faces who are also “hanging out with friends”.  Playing ball when you were a kid meant going to a real park and not visiting the virtual built up Sims world our children live in.

Our children are not growing up in the same world we did.  Social media is their social interaction for the most part.  While some parents have rules on the amount of time spent with technology, or insisting on quality family time at some point during the week, other parents are embracing their lives and understanding what’s truly going on.  This is extremely important!

Do you know what your children are really doing?

Facebook is the leader in social media for teens and adults.  Facebook has reunited lost friends and families, giving them a sense of connection and belonging.  Businesses have marketed themselves to their ideal client base and even local news channels write Facebook posts.  The once thought of “the end of social standard” has now become the pioneer in all that is social media – the new social standard for our children.

Other social media sites such as Vine, Snapchat and Instagram have our children sucked in and parents left out.  These sites are neither good nor bad – they are what is becoming the norm for today’s society.  Teens can’t wait to see how many followers on Twitter they can get-or how many likes for their pictures on Instagram.

While it is important to de-tech our children, I believe it is equally, if not more important, for the parent to tech-up!  When our child’s phone became smarter than us, the need for spelling went out the window.  Besides the fact that the iPhone will auto correct you, and the Samsung can actually guess what word you are going to text next, there is an entire lexicon out there that most parents aren’t even aware of!  That is scary!

I’m pretty sure by now most of you have seen the famous auto correct text that has circulated around Facebook between a mother and her son. It goes like this:

lol

While this is somewhat of a good chuckle, it poses a larger question here; what are your children saying to each other and WTF does it all mean?

My oldest daughter who is only 11 years old was so happy to announce her 700th follower on Instagram.  I decided that I should take a look.  While most of them were school friends or friends of friends and family, some of the unknown Instagramers were posting things that were not appropriate for an eleven year old to be a part of.  More so, after reading some of the comments, I couldn’t even understand what they were saying.

I created an account and requested all of both of my daughters’ friends (and some that I wanted to connect to as well). I caught up on the lingo and commented back using the same lexicons.  TBCH, you don’t want to be the parent that knows nothing and your kids are embarrassed by you, and you don’t want to be the “I think I’m cool Mom” where your kids want to run away from you.   You want your kids to think you’re the cool mom and hope they engage in convo with you and the bestie. I mean for realz, there is no better feeling than ROTF, with your Bae.  And to hear your child say ILY, should be music to your ears!

As if popularity and high school cliques weren’t challenging enough, there is another type of fight for the spotlight! Vine which is a social media site that allows for a 6 second video clip has created overnight social media stars.  Magcon now tours the US and charges close to $200 a ticket and up to $400 for VIP.  They have their own T-Shirt line that kids go nuts for.  Are you gonna pay … or nawwwww?

If bullying in school wasn’t hard enough, social media cyber bullying has also stepped up to the next level.  I have firsthand experience with this.  My daughter posted a picture of herself with her friends.  Some girl in another state asked a question about someone in the picture.  Another follower answered back and the hateful remarks soared back and forth.  Since I am well aware of my children’s actions, my daughter came to me to explain that there were curse words on one of her posts because her followers were fighting back and forth.  So I logged in to see.  It was usual teen talk that would have taken place in any school yard .  It is important to give your children the tools necessary to stand up for themselves, so I stood by, and monitored the situation instead of controlling it.  However, it escalated within minutes.  The girl posted a picture of my daughter to her account, slandered her name and said “How many likes for this ugly B”.  I got phone calls off the wall from friends and family telling me what happened.  As a family we came together and posted wonderful things about my daughter and did not “like it”.  We also reported the post and had Instagram remove it all together.

This story could have taken a turn in the other direction though.  Had I not been aware of what was going on, and had not opened an account, I wouldn’t have been able to stop it, nor have had the knowledge and means to do so.  In addition to that, had this been another child, whose self esteem may not be the highest, this could have ruined them if they got a “Like” for being ugly.  Unfortunately these types of things happen all the time, everyday, to those children who don’t have help.  Reputations are ruined, names are slandered, and IDK if I should even get into Photoshop and what could happen there.

A teenage girl took a picture of her breasts and sent it to her teenage boyfriend.  When they broke up, he posted her picture everywhere online calling her a few choice words I’d rather not say.  Her parents were unaware.  At school she was ridiculed and tormented.  The teenage girl was then raped and a few days later, she killed herself.

As a parent it is your responsibility to teach your children and keep them safe at all times, by any means – even if that means you need to learn a new language!

Parents… listen up!  Remember the commercial our parents had to hear, “It’s 10pm, do you know where your children are?”  Well that doesn’t suffice any longer.  At 10pm my children are home.  The new question I pose is “At every time, do you know what site your child is on?”

teen-acronym

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